This time, Key gains state final 1A volleyball

November 16, 1995|By Glenn P. Graham | Glenn P. Graham,SUN STAFF

RISING SUN -- The Francis Scott Key Eagles knew exactly what their Class 1A state semifinal opponent, Richardson, was going through last night.

It was just a year ago when a young Eagles team, excited about the opportunity to compete in the state volleyball tournament, traveled to Rising Sun only to be overwhelmed by a more experienced Clear Spring team that went on to win the state title.

4 This year, it was Key's turn to be overwhelming.

The No. 6 Eagles had too much firepower as they swept past Richardson -- 15-5, 15-10, 15-13 -- to advance to Saturday's Class 1A state final. The Eagles (20-0) will meet the winner of last night's Williamsport-Rising Sun match at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Catonsville Community College.

"We knew how it felt leaving as losers last year and didn't want to do that tonight," said Key junior hitter Nicole Keffer. "We didn't know what to expect so we tried not to focus on them, but just focus on us and play the way we know we can."

It wasn't always easy.

The Eagles (20-0) showed their dominance early against the East region representative from Caroline County, jumping out to a 12-1 lead in the first game, but had problems maintaining their high level of play throughout the match.

Richardson (14-4), without a senior on the roster, had leads in both of the last two games, but the Eagles were able to turn their play up a notch.

"It was tough to keep up the intensity," said Key coach Leo Totten. "I told them before the match we had to start off with a lot of intensity and we did that, but then we had some lapses. I don't think we'll have any problem with that on Saturday."

The Eagles' balance was never more evident than last night.

It was Keffer who had the big hitting effort, finishing with 10 kills. But senior Ericka Rutzebeck had nine to go along with Stephanie Stambaugh's eight and six from Cindy Sheedy.

Another junior, Erin Ness, provided the majority of the fine sets and had her usual steady all-around game.

"That's been the key to our success all year. We can relax knowing it's not just one person doing it all out there," said Totten. "If one player is not on, another one will pick them up."

Stambaugh, Sheedy, Keffer and Rutzebeck all had at least one kill in the final game.

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